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Network Card for Gamers - Uses Linux to Reduce Lag 410

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slave-to-the-ping-number dept.
Cujo writes "The folks at GDHardare have an interview with Bigfoot Networks discussing the pending release of their Killer Network Card which is said to greatly reduce in-game latency. According to the Interview, this card uses a Linux-based subsystem to do its magic."
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Network Card for Gamers - Uses Linux to Reduce Lag

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:24PM (#15869761) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

    All the founders met at the University of Texas while getting their MBAs.

    Oh - and it runs FNapps, so as well as being good for games, its suitable for FNapping.
    • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:30PM (#15869808) Homepage
      You mean they went to the University of Texas to find Linux instead of God?! I guess that answers the root question then.
    • MBA's, huh? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They got Masters degrees in Business Administration, and yet their typing and conversational skills are on the level of 14-year-olds.

      That's just sad.

      Well, that and the fact that their "product" is clearly incapable of giving anything near the boosts they claim it gives...
    • Re:Is it credible? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:50PM (#15869976) Journal
      It's obvious that they're all about the business here.

      "Powered by Lag and Latency Reduction (LLR) Technology"
      "Future-Proof: Field Upgradeable"
      "UltimatePing(tm)"
      "MaxFPS(tm)"
      "FNA(tm)"
      "GameFirst(tm)"
      "PingThrottle(tm)"

      Seriously, who else but a marketting department would think that it's a good idea to trademark a name describing everything "new" that your product does? And the page is so full of TLAs (three letter acronyms) that you need a glossary to read it.

      So, yes, I'd have to weigh in with everyone else, it's snakeoil. Basically, any product designed entirely by a marketting group is going to be snakeoil, and this definitely was.
      • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @06:04PM (#15870431) Homepage
        So, yes, I'd have to weigh in with everyone else, it's snakeoil. Basically, any product designed entirely by a marketting group is going to be snakeoil, and this definitely was.

        Everyone knows the internets is a series of tubes. Well, this card hurls your data through the tubes with such force that it can't possibly get stuck.

        Make sure not to point the jack at anyone. You'll shoot someone's eye out.
      • Re:Is it credible? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lullabud (679893)
        I like the past tense tone of your post. "This definitely was." That's has a nice finality to it. Screw hype.
    • by frovingslosh (582462) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @05:46PM (#15870345)
      I don't know what's sadder, that some fools would actually hand over money to a bunch of MBA who claim to someow have designed a better network interface than engineers, and who can't understand that these claim are completely bogus, or that Slashdot actually gives them a soapbox to further pitch their snakeoil from (perhaps because of the use of the term Linux in the hype).
  • Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:24PM (#15869763)
    I'm sure another layer of abstraction to the network is exactly what gamers need to reduce lag.

    Overloaded and slow routers will say, "Whoah, his network card RUNS LINUX. I'll shuffle these packets through more quickly."

    I'd believe their hype more if we already had an openly tiered internet and these guys gave you a free year's subcription to the top tier with purchase of the card.
    • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beuno (740018) <argentina@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:28PM (#15869792) Homepage
      I agree, although, also from TFA:

      Many network products today claim to 'offload' network calculations (like checksum, tcp segmentation, etc.). Those technologies are usually only for TCP/IP networking (which most games that Hardcore Gamers play don't use). Those technologies are also incomplete as they still go through multiple layers of the gaming network stack to eventually get data to the game. With Killer, we completely bypass your gaming PC's operating system and go directly from our card to the game. Our card automatically handles things like IP Reassembly, UDP/IP checksum, UDP and IP header verification and stripping, etc, etc, etc. By bypassing your gaming PC's operating system and allowing Killer to handle everything, Killer can achieve levels of gaming network performance well beyond the offloading features claimed by other consumer networking products (NICs or onboard chipsets).
      • Re:Yes. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jandrese (485)
        Woo! It saves that 0.1% of my modern CPU that is going for UDP checksum calculations and uh, well UDP doesn't exactly require a lot of processing...
      • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:35PM (#15869855) Homepage
        TCP isn't avoided because it's slow but because it's totally useless for streaming applications (e.g. games). Missing packets is much more easy to deal with than halting waiting for missing packets.

        Maybe that shows the founders don't know that much about networking?

        Tom
        • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CyberBill (526285) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:45PM (#15869932)
          A lot of games are TCP based... World of Warcraft for example. Even games that arent exactly TCP are typically a reliable messaging system on top of UDP that pretty much mimics TCP.

          With that said, I cant see how this network card could reduce your latency by more than 1ms or 2ms round trip. Latency isnt introduced because your PC is stupid, its introduced because you're waiting the time it takes for packets to travel to your ISP, to its ISP, to its ISP, down to its child, down to its child, and back to some other PC, and having to interact with the 20 routers, gateways, and switches along the way. Most switches use something called Hold and Forward (I might have the name wrong...) which listens for the whole packet, reads the header information, and then passes it along, rather than writing the bits as they come in like a hub does... (Please dont read into this and think hubs are better :P )
          • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @05:00PM (#15870038)
            Even games that arent exactly TCP are typically a reliable messaging system on top of UDP that pretty much mimics TCP.

            With that said, I cant see how this network card could reduce your latency by more than 1ms or 2ms round trip.
            Given the constraints - TCP and various homegrown reliable protocols on top of UDP, it isn't too hard to come up with some options to improve latency. But they all involve violating the RFCs.

            First you have to wrap head around one important factor that can absolutely kill latency for any transport with guaranteed delivery -- packet loss. Packet loss means you have to discover what packets were lost and then retransmit them - those two steps can easily introduce delays on the order of seconds.

            So one trick would be to pre-send the retransmits. Send duplicate packets spaced apart by a few miliseconds. If the other end receives multiple copies of the same packet, it will silently discard any extras - but if one copy gets lost en route, the other packet might still make it through, thus eliminating the whole timeout/retransmit cycle. It should be possible to do this for both TCP and UDP.

            However, doing something like that is very unfriendly because it wastes resources. The primary reason packets get lost en route is because of bandwidth saturation. So, if you double or triple your traffic you are just making the problem worse. If you are the only one out of thousands who "breaks the rules" you will probably get away with it and probably even benefit from it since packet loss will be a somewhat even distribution among all traffic, so chances are if one of your packets gets dropped the copy won't get dropped - instead someone else's packet gets dropped.

            But if a significant minority of users were to do the same thing, it would probably result in a complete collapse of any usuable bandwidth. Which is exactly the kind of thing I would expect a bunch of MBA's to come up with.
            • You don't have to retransmit. Many things can coded in such a way that any lost data can be ignored without ill effects.

              For example, suppose a game where you control a character. The user is running forward. Packets are sent with the content of "Player Alice moving to (x,y)", at intervals, whether the user is actually moving or not. You have these packets:

              #1: Alice moving to (0,10)
              #2: Alice moving to (0,20)
              #3: Alice moving to (0,30)
              #4: Alice moving to (0,30)
              #5: Alice moving to (0,30) ...

              The receiving side k
              • Those of us with an embarrassingly large playtime in MMOGs would probably say that filling in the blanks due to lost packates (as seen in games like Everquest and everything today) is certainly better than waiting for retransmits (like in the original Ultima Online), but often enough, you ended up chasing ghosts.

                This was merely annoying as a newbie, chasing orc pawns in overloaded starter zones, but in much later stages the same feature could result in writing off hours of playtime for 40 people in unforgi

          • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mrbcs (737902) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @05:31PM (#15870234)
            IMNSHO, most latency is caused by "CRAPPY $5 onboard NETWORK CARDS!"

            Get a 3com NIC and be done with it. I've seen a machine getting pings of 200 to 300 and when I switched the crap card to a real 3com the ping times went down to 50.There is a reason that 3com charges $35 for their cards... they work well. I use them exclusively in my network.

            Shitty hardware always causes problems.

      • Re:Yes. (Score:4, Funny)

        by Feyr (449684) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:50PM (#15871163) Journal
        in other news, there is such a thing as a "gaming network stack". forget ipv6! we're going full on gaming network!
    • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zebra_X (13249) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:45PM (#15869944)
      WOW. Just wow. I think that I have seen it all. This fellow has actually posted a smart, witty and insightful comment about a totally bunk product and got modded troll as a result.

      And yet others defend this weak, limp wristed marketing gimmick and have been modded up.
      Is there no justice on slashdot!? Have the Mod gods forsaken us for the last time!?

      We pray to you mod gods, remove the blight from the parent post and restore the balance of good and newb on slashdot!
  • Pricey (Score:5, Informative)

    by HeWhoRoams (895809) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:25PM (#15869770)
    Pre order cost is $280. You'll see a better FPS increase spending that on a graphics card, RAM, or some groceries for 6 months.
    • of a few other things are these days.

      Like say, snake oil. Or those magnetic gewgaws that are supposed to give you 500% better fuel efficiency in your car.

      Or, other crap that doesn't work.
    • I totally agree. $280 is way too much to spend for what would be a very small FPS increase. On the other hand, if they added some functionality and repackaged it as an SSL acceleration card, they would make big bucks from secure web sites looking to offload the SSL calculations from the cpu without buying a more expensive external accelerator.
      • Wow, yea, that's a good idea! I've got a handful of secure proxys set up that could use a little boost. Reminds me of something I heard about people trying to take advantage of all the processing power in the newer graphics cards, to speed up server-side number crunching.
      • Yeah, only you can get a decent NIC from Intel, Broadcom, maybe 3com, which offloads most of the IP stack into hardware *AND* get a HiFN 79xx-based SSL/RSA/DSA/AES cryptoaccelerator card from Soerkis for about $100. I guess the extra $200 or so these people want covers the heatsink and a couple of pretty LEDs.

        I'd mod this product +5 snakeoil.
    • Re:Pricey (Score:5, Funny)

      by bcmm (768152) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:38PM (#15869886)
      Yes, because we thought we'd get a better FPS increase from lower network latency.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:25PM (#15869771) Journal
    It's always been my understanding that the bigger bottlenecks are upstream of your NIC. I mean, my home network set up goes gigabit from my desktop to my hardware router, gigabit from my router to my gateway firewall, then gigabit (minus a few MTU) to my DSL modem, and after that the speed gets massively reduced and there's nothing I can do about it. My lan latency is practically non-existant.

    Can you really reprioritize your packets coming from your desktop in such a way that you make a significant gain after it hits your ISP? Or is this just cyberpenis enlargement? Seems to me that, unless you're hosting a bunch of internet spyware or network-heavy background processes, you're not going to be making much of a gain.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

      by MustardMan (52102)
      Seems to me that, unless you're hosting a bunch of internet spyware [...], you're not going to be making much of a gain.

      Uh, this is for gamers, right? Don't most gamers run WINDOWS?
    • Can you really reprioritize your packets coming from your desktop in such a way that you make a significant gain after it hits your ISP? Or is this just cyberpenis enlargement? Seems to me that, unless you're hosting a bunch of internet spyware or network-heavy background processes, you're not going to be making much of a gain.

      In a single device network, this is mostly true. However, most people have at least two devices on their network ( at the very least, two seperate systems ). And it's not about satu
    • I didn't RTFA, but maybe there's some sort of QoS that makes sure Windows Update or something like that doesn't slow down your games? I think I'd rather have manual control, though, and just turn off things that I'm downloading in the background.

      I'm not sure what else they could do, though, and I guess that wouldn't reduce latency as much as increase throughput for games. If you're halfway around the world from your destination, I don't know how a better network card is going to get you a faster ping.

      Bu

    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by fm6 (162816)
      If you go to the web site, and read the white paper, you'll see that they're mainly thinking in terms of LAN usage.
    • Can you really reprioritize your packets coming from your desktop in such a way that you make a significant gain after it hits your ISP?

      Yeah, technically if the packet is flagged with a higher priority CoS, and ALL of the equipment between hither and yon support CoS, it is possible.

      After reading through the whitepaper, it seems this card is also able to flag INCOMING packets as well. If this were possible, it would CAUSE incredible amounts of lag for everything else waiting for packets (not to mention requ
      • Yea, packets only ever arrive/depart one at a time, unless you've got multiple independant interfaces enabled. That's just tcp/ip. If this thing could change that well that would be something. Maybe some kind of quantum dynamics? Or magic packets where an outgoing packet could travel through an inbound packet. Trippy.

        • No, magic packets are something else entirely. Magic packets are used to activate the Wake-on-LAN feature of some network cards.

          Oh wait... You're talking about some OTHER type of magic packet. My bad.

          BTW, is there actually a practical use for Wake-on-LAN (i.e. a real-world scenario for it)
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans@nosPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:44PM (#15869928) Homepage
      It's always been my understanding that the bigger bottlenecks are upstream of your NIC. I mean, my home network set up goes gigabit from my desktop to my hardware router, gigabit from my router to my gateway firewall, then gigabit (minus a few MTU) to my DSL modem, and after that the speed gets massively reduced and there's nothing I can do about it. My lan latency is practically non-existant.


      Now, maybe I'm completely misunderstanding teh point of this NIC, but...

      You are correct. The NIC isn't an appreciable source of latency. Right now, I ping'd a server on another subnet, and I averaged 0.3 ms latency. This is bog standard 100 Mb. Nothing the least bit fancy. That server might have a nice NIC of some sort, but this desktop certainly doesn't. And, that's hopping between subnets. Crossing between buildings over a T-1, with a few routers involved in about 5 ms. Pinging my home machine over the internet is abou 150 ms. So, assuming that of the .3 ms latency I have inside this building, none of it is due to the switch, and none of it is due to actual wire delay, then about half of the latency is my system, and half is from the server. So, my NIC is responsible for abou 0.15 ms of latency.

      Now, assuming that I was playing a game with my home computer, moving to a NIC that cut the latency of my PC down by 2/3 (from .15 ms to .05 ms), I'd be shaving my total latency for the connection to 149.9 ms (from 150ms).

      Which would improve my lag by .06%

      No, dammit. You won't see a noticeable improvement from a lower latency NIC. There are probably a few microbenchmarks where you will get a phenomenal speedup. Gaming isn't one of those cases.
      • What about playing on a LAN with other people, though? You'll be moving from 0.3ms to 0.1ms. Or something. I don't actually know, but I'd guarantee you that's where this card is targeted. Not at the people playing online games, but those playing networked, LAN games.
    • Parent is spot-on about latency when playing over the Internet.
      I haven't RTFA, but I suspect that the claims of increased performance will be on a LAN-only basis.

      And not to try and legitimize what looks to be a sucker-magnet product (they seriously need to add neon to it!), but there could be optimizations related to having a local network of these things talking to one another. Or, the optimizations could be related to a cross-over cable scenario (not fun for gaming, but could be enough to "qualify" the ma
  • by cannonfodda (557893) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:28PM (#15869787)
    Wow the first network card with built in Bat'leth!
  • by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:28PM (#15869788) Journal
    OMG, they named it the "KillerNIC"? Like, does this kind of advertising actually work?

    "This NIC is so hardcore it KILLED SOMEONE!"

    I can just imagine their second version coming with a muzzle a la Silence of the Lambs.
  • This sounds like a great place to house an aimbot, if those still exist.
  • network card lag? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fullaxx (657461) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:30PM (#15869805)
    since when is lag caused by your local NIC? So what if you get an extra .001 ms to your router? Never once have I seen my cpu above 5% b/c of network usage, even full network usage. No way is this legit
  • by adamwright (536224) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:32PM (#15869828) Homepage
    As a small test, I ran up Quake 3 on it's highest settings, and had it play back a reasonably heavy demo. Now, Quake3 isn't the most modern of games, but it can still peg a CPU at 100%. Then, I found the latency to my router.

    Pinging 192.168.0.1 with 32 bytes of data:

    Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time1ms TTL=255
    Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time1ms TTL=255
    Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time1ms TTL=255

    Assuming this product entirely eliminates all latency on the first hop (impossible), that's a net gain of 1ms.

    The entire concept of these FNApps also strikes me as a route to evil; I heard a subtext of "Now, even the most clueless Windows gamer with too much money can run packet scanning cheating tools with no chance of detection!".

    I'm placing this one firmly in the "Snake oil" bin, based on this interview.
    • by dorath (939402)
      They also claim to increase your FPS by offloading other apps onto the NIC, namely a music player but apparently also file sharing. With a mic jack one would think it could also run voice communication software.

      Being at work, I'm not in a position to check FPS while running just the game vs the game, music, and chat. :-(

      I'm placing this one in close proximity to the "Snake oil" bin.
    • ping doesn't put much load on your networking stack. Try that with large UDP (or better yet, TCP) frames, at a rate which actually saturates your network, on a gigabit network - and you'll start to see what network card latency is all about (hint: you'll never get the last 300Mbit out of that gigabit network without doing something about the latency of your network card and kernel's networking stack).

      Not sure why it's relevant to games, but low-latency high-intelligence network cards are very important for
  • Retarded, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by u16084 (832406) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:33PM (#15869836)
    If your ISP sucks ass, a $250 lan card is not going to help.
  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:34PM (#15869848)
    The only thing I can guess it needs Linux for is to do the routing and QoS services (see lartc.org)...

    Then again, considering I get sub-1ms latencies across my network (only 100Mbps...), and this is with some rather pathetic equipment (Celeron system running Win2k), I fail to see how I can improve my 80ms ping with a better network card.

    It seems that hardcore gamers are starting to become the computing equivalent of the "audiophile". From CRT displays that do 120hz refresh (do they notice the difference between 100 and 120, I wonder?) since LCDs that do 6ms are "too slow". Gaming mice that do 10k-dpi for ultra-precise positioning, videocards that cost the better part of a grand. And now, network cards that cut down microseconds or give you that extra frame per second. There's also keyboards, the gaming mousepad (though, some are nice for general use), and god knows what other accessories, doodads and other monster-cable-type things.
    • by bcmm (768152) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:53PM (#15869993)
      This is offtopic, but I have to mention this while we're talking about audiophiles. About a month ago, I saw in a shop a device even more blatantly pointless than this NIC. It was an "A/V USB cable". Gold-plated. That's right, ordinary USB cables are not good enough for running a projector, presumably because those cheap stainless steel USB connectors introduce too much noise into the (digital) signal.

      (For anyone who doesn't frequent the same shops as crazy people, it is common to gold-plate the connectors of analogue audio connectors to improve the quality of the signal. Presumably the untarnishable gold reduces the resistance of the connection. This gets taken to rather silly extremes when gold-plated 3.5mm connectors are marketed for use with low-quality stuff like MP3 players.)
      • It actually makes good sense. You either gold or silver plate depending on how it will be used. Pro gear is generally silver, home gear is gold. You use gold because it doesn't tarnish and is somewhat soft. That makes it good for a connection that's going to be hooked up and not messed with, it won't corrode and so on. Silver is good in that it's quite conductive and won't rub off with repeated pulgging and unplugging and that action will keep it fairly untarnished.

        I've actually had problems with pro gear b
      • by slackmaster2000 (820067) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @05:37PM (#15870280)
        Yeah audiophiles are very easily fooled. I laugh every time I hear about digital technology being described in analog terms, which is terribly common in the audiophile realm. It's sort of understandable though because "digital" is so variable whenever we interface with the analog world. Not all AD/DA converters are created equal. Audio CD playback is very similar to analog technology in that it's designed play right through and mask errors which can result in high frequency distortion and various other artifacts that one might not expect from "digital" and how that term is marketed. It can be difficult to understand, so why wouldn't the quality of a USB cable be as important as the quality of a microphone cable or the weight of a speaker cable? Well, most of us would say "duh", but the second big problems is that these people can "hear" the difference! Ah the power of suggestion. You won't find a lot of double blind studies published by audiophile gear manufacturers.

        Aside from $30,000 speaker cables (I shit you not), my most favorite audiophile product is a wooden knob that costs $500. "What does the wooden knob do, though?" Well, nothing on its own. It is in fact, a wooden knob. A knob made from wood. It sounds great when attached to your volume pot, though. Five hundred dollars please.

        So today we learn about a network card that somehow reduces lag by implementing hardcore quality of service on an endpoint that is for all intents and purposes dedicated to a single application. Are gamers analogous to audiophiles? "Quake III is a lot more responsive now. My ping is about the same, but I can feel the difference." It must work though. I mean, who would make something and charge so much for it if it didn't actually work? :)
    • The word is "elitism". There will always be people willing to lay down serious money to maintain their egos. Cars, stereos, guns, computers, home theaters, women ... you name it, somebody will pay too much for it just to get that special "God, I'm just so much better than everyone else" feeling. Of course, most elitists are in reality fools (and if male, typically equipped with miniscule sexual apparatus) but if you tell them how idiotic they look they'll just go spend even more money to prove you wrong. Th
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @05:12PM (#15870123)
      For example take the CRT thing. I own such a CRT, and it's not marketed to gamers, it's marketed to professionals. Why the refersh rate then? Simple function of it's ability to go super high resolution. The monitor is rated to do 2048x1536 @85Hz. To do that, takes some fast electron guns. Well, that ability implies higher refresh rates at lower resolutions. It can do over 200Hz at 800x600 because the resolution is so low. The point is to get extremely high resolutions at usable refresh rates. Also, in general, you want your device spec'd above what it's supposed to actually do. You don't want to run it at it's limits all the time.

      Likewise the mouse thing is a little misinformed. Higher DPI cameras isn't worthless on an optical mouse. It lets it track on more uniform surfaces. No matter how uniform something looks, at some point it's uneven. Well, optical mice need uneveness to track, that's why they don't work on a mirror, or a really smooth surface, they can't track details. One way to make them track better is to up the DPI. The smaller details they see, the more uniform a surface can be. That's also the point behind using a laser. Since it is truly monochromatic light, just one frequency, it shows small details in a starker contrast that is lost with normal LED light.

      Though there's certianly BS targeted at the gamer market, this being some of the BS, there's plenty of products with real legit reasons to be bought. Not everyone wants an experience that is "acceptable" or "works jsut good enough to get the job done." Doesn't mean they are wasting money on the things they buy. Yes a $50 used mountain bike will get me to work and back, but that doesn't mean that I'm wasting money on a deceant $600 street bike. It honestly does work better.
  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:35PM (#15869857) Homepage Journal
    It must be good! Have you seen the size of the fan on that thing ;)
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:36PM (#15869866) Homepage
    All the founders met at the University of Texas while getting their MBAs.

    That says all that needs to be said for the article.
  • by BertieBaggio (944287) * <bobNO@SPAMmanics.eu> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:36PM (#15869870) Homepage

    This, of course, was covered earlier [slashdot.org]. And I still agree with the tag - I think it is snake oil.

    Let's try and remember a few fundamentals. As per RFC 1925, "The 12 Networking Truths": [faqs.org]

    [2] No matter how hard you push and no matter what the priority, you can't increase the speed of light.

    (Déja vu? Yes! [slashdot.org])

    Right on. This card might process incoming data quicker, or perhaps even send the data to the CPU faster, but it won't reduce latency. The high price ($280? TFA is not responding) does not justify the alleged 'improvements' in lag this card offers. Games communicating over UDP like BF2 have fairly low lag anyway (when they stay connected...). As others have said: spend the money on RAM or some other upgrade. The 'lag' improvement will be much more cost-effective.
  • Big laffs! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:37PM (#15869879)
    The best lie is the boldest.

    Of all the things a spiffy network card could do, reducing latency is just about the least likely.

    They could have put 20mb of buffers on it.

    They could buy glow-in-the-dark pc board material.

    They could have put a handful of bright blinky led's on it.

    They could even put on a 12AX7 vacuum tube to do something useful.

    They could put built-in auto ping.

    But what do they do? Put another layer of OS glop in the way. Big laffs!!

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:39PM (#15869894) Journal
    What kind of geek wannabe would waste money on this? Nowhere on their site do they show benchmarks or even vague references to how much this will speed up your networking or FPS. Oooh! it offloads network processing, leaving your CPU free to PLAY THE GAME!!! That's probably going to speed things up by like .5%. AWESOME!!! TO THE MAX!!!

    This is the tech equivalent of herbal viagra.
  • That's right! The card has high quality vacuum tubes and a special magnetic stone that will make the sound much warmer. Another great feature is that this NIC is so powerful only your packets will get to the server, so nobody can shoot at you! Seriously now, what were these guys trying to do? Probably the card was created for the FNA thing, then when they found it had no application at all, they tried to find a market for it.
  • Wow. Just wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:50PM (#15869970) Homepage

    OK, I thought gamers were suckers (paying $600+ for graphics cards) but really.

    A $280 network card.

    But wait, there's more!

    It's also... a Linux box. And not just a Linux box, an "Open Source Linux" box.

    Plus it has USB so you can connect a hard drive or headset???

    OK, the basic idea is interesting. Offload all the TCP/UDP/IP processing. I have to wonder how much impact that would really have. But how does the data get onto the host computer? If it's via a driver that shows up as a NIC, then it still has to go through the network layers of the OS. If it shows up as some kind of memory, then the host applications must be written to use it. The idea of offloading a few other features too (like voice chat) is nice too, but again, you'd have to write special software or drivers or something on the host OS to use that.

    And you can use it for a hard drive. If they open it, background bittorrent anyone?

    Or you could just let your NIC have a hard drive for fun that you can't access. Genius!

    Look, if they had a little ARM processor and it did the network stuff only, that would be cute. But I think they over built it, it's over priced, and I seriously doubt it has much impact.

    I wonder if they'll make Linux drivers available *smirk*

  • As a side note, Harlan met his wife in Ultima Online, married her in the game, and then eventually married her in real life.
    As a former Chesapeake player (DogMeat[MoO] of Oberon Pass) I can just see the scenario...

    Do you take this woodelf to be your...
    PKs!!1! Recall1111
    Corp Por Corp Por Corp Por
    Oooo ooooo oo oo ooooooooo ooooo ooooo Translation: I'm going to do something about this!

    Jonah HEX
  • kinda cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by digitalsushi (137809)
    This sort of looks like a crappy TOE - TCP Offload Engine. You can get a TOE NIC from Chelsio for a grand that'll do gig rates. Anyone ever try to get gigabit speeds out of their NIC? It's not so easy. It takes a lot of overhead to encapsulate data inside ethernet frames. Offloading that job to your ethernet card is a nice way to keep your CPU doing the stuff you want it focused on.

    It's sort of clever, I think. If your CPU is pegged calculating physics for a video game, or however you kids crunch math
  • This card is meant for the "audiophile gold cable crackpot" market. It offers no real-world benefit, at a very substantial cost.

    This sort of card *might* (might!) be of use in a server environment where you're trying to transfer gigabits of data at a whack. In fact, they already have it. It's called TCP Offload Engine (TOE). Unless you are rendering Doom 3 on your Beowulf cluster at 1600x1200 and sending the raw uncompressed data over ethernet, you aren't going to need this sort of card for gaming.

    For l
  • hah maybe it uses qos to give game traffic higher priority then spy/malware traffic coming out of the os. I bet they did all their testing on an unpatched unfirewalled Windows box.

    btw, latency is not related to bandwidth so all those"well my home network is gigabit and i have no latency" arguments don't apply. My 10mbit network has the same latency as a 10gigabit network.
  • Sounds like a fine BLAZEMONGER [blazemonger.com] product.
  • These people have been making these outrageous claims for months. I thought that it must of been on slashdot before, or i would have posted it for the extreme joke level. Firingsquad had a review [firingsquad.com] in july of it, and it seems to be an ongoing joke over there as well.

    Its really quite funny. My favourite "feature" from The manufacturers OWN website PDF [killernic.com]:

    Ping Throttle: When other gamers complain that your ping is too low, adjust it a little higher untill they stop whining. Then, dial it back down and go in for th
  • Their specifications sheets don't want to pull up in Konqueror / KPDF... they open, but you can't read the text. Guess they're Linux-friendly only if you're running Windows...
  • but not until then, because PowerPlay is the Technology of the Future!
  • Everyone is complaining that the card and marketing are various degrees of bullshit, but who really cares?

    Isn't it obvious that we'll all buy this thing just becuase it *looks* so badass?
  • by ettlz (639203) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @05:22PM (#15870176) Journal

    Killer IO-APIC!

    • Dispatch those interrupts ten times faster than the enemy so you can pwn!
    • Be on the cutting edge so you can react level when those unexpected events hit!
    • Totally slam your on-line opponents with our 8259-bustin' l33tn355!

    Stay alert, kids, because we'll soon be announcing Killer Keyboard Controller with Bitchin' Gate A20 Technology!

    Pwn!

    w00t!

  • by Tytus_Bigfoot (994047) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @07:00PM (#15870752)
    Hey everyone, I am the inventor of the Killer NIC. I will not try to hijack your thread, so this will be my only post. Thanks for the interest in our Killer Network Card. It has been my personal vision for years. A lot of very good questions have been raised here, and I think a lot of them are answered in our FAQ here: http://www.bigfootnetworks.com/FrequentlyAskedQues tions.aspx [bigfootnetworks.com] . If there are still questions, I would love to try to answer them at our sponsored community site: http://www.endlagnow.org/ELNForums/ [endlagnow.org] Thanks, Tytus
  • Um... WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:30PM (#15871617) Journal
    It's a router... or a bridge... in the network card. WTF?

    Ok, it either breaks RFCs and causes even MORE lag when you get more than one or two on a network, or it basically does what current stateful firewalls do for you anyway -- defragment packets before they get sent through.

    So, if you already have a cheap router on your home network -- and you probably do if you have wireless -- this part is done for you already.

    Now about that ping... Assuming it's not breaking any RFCs, I haven't heard ANYTHING to suggest that this can do ANYTHING to improve traffic, once it's beyond your network. Now, gamers, go ahead, ping your routers. That's almost certainly 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, but it's not hard to figure out if you know what you're doing. I have NEVER seen a ping to the router of a LAN of more than 2-3 ms, and usually we're talking about .013 ms, so if you're seeing more than that, you have other problems, or you're on a wireless network, in which case your games will always suck.

    As I continue to read through the spec sheet, all I see is either:
    "Gee, any off-the-shelf router already does this!"
    or:
    "Gee, even if that's true, my $100 mobo includes a NIC that already does this. Even if not, the maybe 5% of CPU that you'd save surely costs less than the $280 you're charging for this card."

    Really, go the fuck home. I don't want any of these anywhere near my networks, much less my gaming rig.
  • by jleq (766550) <jleq96NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:25AM (#15872219)
    I had a card like this back in 1998. It was a 3Com Etherlink with "Parallel Tasking II"... Except that it actually did make a difference with the PCs of that day, and cost a hell of a lot less.

    Sadly, I know some people who will probably actually buy a network card like this... LOL KILLER! How ridiculous.

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